Teaching Toddlers with Autism Using Video Modeling
Children with autism learn best through visual supports such as pictures and videos to teach them important everyday tasks and activities. The video modeling approach is a research-based intervention that has proven to be effective for children with autism ages 3 years and older. However, this approach has not yet been tested for children younger than three years of age. Kathy Stewart, MS, OTR/L, an Occupational Therapist and Research Coordinator at Boyer Children’s Clinic, recently received approval from the University of Washington to study the effectiveness of video modeling with children younger than 3 years to teach motor imitation skills needed for everyday tasks and activities.
Video modeling is a form of observational learning where desired behaviors are taught through the use of short video clips of an adult or peer performing a task or activity. The child watches the video clip and then gets a turn to imitate the desired behavior. The video modeling approach may have the potential to teach young children the motor imitation skills needed for play with objects, self-help tasks, and social-communication.
New tablet technology such as the iPad has expanded the ways we can teach children with autism. The iPad offers a convenient way to create video models and to provide a visual support to children in therapy. Through a generous donation by the D.V. & Ida McEachern Charitable Trust, Boyer recently acquired several iPads for use with young children. Over the next several months, Boyer staff will be researching the effect of iPad-based video modeling to improve motor imitation skills in very young children with autism spectrum disorders.